In this 15 minute video I demonstrate the touch typing website, typing.com.
In this video, you will learn
*Why touch typing is important and how it can help us,
*That typing.com is a free website that contains 48 individual lessons that develop your touch typing skills,
*You can create a free account at typing.com to help track our progress
*It comes with clear instructions and animations to help us
*That you can change the keyboard layout depending on where you live in the world
*A record is kept of your typing speeds and any keys that you are struggling with
*That typing.com has an attractive design which is easy to use and that the screen can be modified slightly to help people with visual impairments.
The video includes a full set of subtitles but if you would prefer to read a full transcript of the video, please find one below
Start of Video Transcript
Hello everyone. It is James from the Visual Impairment Team in Devon.
In this video I am going to demonstrate the website Typing.com
So that I don’t waste your time, let me quickly tell you what is in the video.
In this video you will learn
that why touch typing is important and how it can help us,
that typing.com is a free website that contains 48 individual lessons that develop your touch typing skills,
We can create a free account at typing.com to help track our progress
It comes with clear instructions and animations to help us
That you can change the keyboard layout depending on where you live in the world
A record is kept of your typing speeds and any keys that you are struggling with
That typing.com has an attractive design which is easy to use and that the screen can be modified to help people with visual impairments.
So to start, let me briefly talk about the importance of touch typing.
Touch typing is the ability to type on a computer keyboard while looking at the computer screen.
It is the expertise of knowing where individual keys are and using all the fingers on both hands in order to type without having to look at the keyboard.
Touch typing is a lifeline for many people with visual impairments.
For sighted people, touch typing enables a person to work much faster on a computer.
For people with a visual impairment, touch typing is a big part of being able to use a computer more independently.
An added bonus of being able to touch type for people with or without a visual impairment is that their posture whilst working on a laptop or a desktop, will be better.
Touch typists tend to sit with straighter backs looking at the screen than non touch typists who are more hunched over looking at the keyboard.
And now, moving onto Typing.com.
Typing.com is a free website that contains free touch typing lessons, keyboard familiarisation games and tests aimed at developing your touch typing skills.
In this video I want to focus on the 48 lessons that are split into different levels; beginner, intermediate, advanced and practice.
The big questions are, is it any good and how accessible is it for a person with a visual impairment?
First, some technical details. I am using Mozilla Firefox on a Windows 10 laptop, but this website should be accessible via Chrome or Microsoft Edge or on an Apple laptop.
Everything is web based which is great because there is no software to download and it can be accessed on many different devices.
A downside to this is that in order to access it you will always need the Internet- which is becoming less of a problem these days.
The site’s theme is a blue and white combination, importantly the design is not too cluttered.
The first feature that I want to draw your attention to is the registration section, which is prominently displayed at the top of the page.
This is a great place to have the notice.
The big advantage that registration brings is that by creating an account, you can track your progress but you can also earn badges.
If you don’t register then you will have to manually record your progress somehow and remember where you left off!
It takes about 1 minute to register. You just need to create a username and a password , there is no need to provide an email address although you can log in using other services such as Google and Clever.
So I have logged in using my Google account.
It takes me to a dashboard that shows me my current lesson (I haven’t started yet!) and also some key statistics, such as…
The design remains uncluttered at this point.
There are 14 lessons in the beginner level and they are divided up into different groups of letter keys.
What is interesting is that there are two revision lessons in there which is smart thinking.
Let’s start lesson 1, “j,f and space”.
We are taken to a page which has a graphic of a keyboard and a pair of hands. There is now an ad at the top of the page and running down the left hand side.
The f key is highlighted because that is the key that we need to press and the index finger of the left hand is also highlighted as that is the finger that we need to use.
Press the enter key and a new screen loads.
There are still 2 ads on this page in the same place.
There are 4 letter “f’s” on a white background, a small keyboard below it with the letter f highlighted and two hands with the index finger on the left hand highlighted.
Now, before I practice any touch typing, let us click on the link for keyboard layout on the right hand side.
A new page loads.
There is a drop down box that gives us the option to change the keyboard- I think that the default setting is U.S. Standard.
When we click to change it, there are about 25 options to choose from.
Lots of European layouts are there, as well as a few Asian layouts. I will select the UK layout.
In order to get back to the lesson, I need to press the back button in my browser and press enter again.
You also have a choice to hide the keyboard as well but for the moment, I will keep it as I think that the highlighted letter is a good visual reference.
What I need to do is to zoom in on the page as it is too small and not very visually impaired friendly.
To do this I would normally just press my Ctrl key and the + key to get the objects on the page to the right size.
However these shortcuts don’t work because it expects you to press the letter j.
So, I am going to modify it via the menu at the top. It is not perfect but it does make things slightly better. I have a magnification level of 170%.
This lesson contains lots of letter f’s, in groups of three separated by a space. I am now going to complete this lesson.
When I click on continue I get a hints page- some written instructions about what I need to do next, combined with an animation of how to do it.
Press the enter key and the lesson page loads.
I have a screen with letters j and f following from the top of the screen randomly. I need to type the letter which is at the bottom of the screen.
As soon as you have completed the lesson, my statistics dashboard appears, showing my reward stars, words per minute, accuracy, time typing and my problem keys.
At the bottom of the page is a progress bar which shows you how many screens you have completed on your level and you can see that I have completed 4.
When I click on continue, I move to the next lesson with it’s hints page followed by the lesson.
So, what do I think of typing.com as a place to learn touch typing?
I think that the pros are; it is free, it has lots of levels, it is easy to use, you can track your progress by creating a free account, it has a nice design which can be magnified to make it more user friendly for people with visual impairments.
I think its major con is that it has ads running.
Thanks for watching my video tour of typing.com.
If this video has helped you, please share it with your friends, colleagues and family.
I have created lots of other videos relating to touch typing and there is a link to my playlist below.
If you have any comments or questions or anything to add to the discussion, please leave them below.
End of Video Transcript